TCO 141 Emerging Technology Assignment (Fall 2017)

last modified 2017-10-19T14:39:01-04:00
Step 1: Brainstorm

 Need ideas? Topics related to an emerging technology are available on the following sites:

Once you've chosen a topic, state it as a question. For example, instead of "transportation systems," you might ask "How do we prevent the improper and unauthorized use of transportation systems, and reduce our vulnerability to their disruption, without seriously restricting mobility or violating individual rights?" Ask a question you want to know the answer to!

Identify the main concepts and keywords in your question, and come up with alternatives. Ask yourself which words in your research topic are most important, and spend a few minutes thinking about alternative ways to phrase them. In our example, the most important keywords/phrases are "transportation systems," "unauthorized use," and "restricting mobility." You may consider replacing "transportation systems" with "mass transit."

Step 2: Find

Use the following to locate scholarly and non-scholarly articles, including conference papers:

  • Discovery - (Having trouble accessing this resource? Go to and 'Search Discovery') A resource that allows you to search multiple databases and the library catalog at the same time. While it does not include all of the resources Mercer University Library makes available, Discovery is a great place to get started with most research topics.
  • Science & Technology Collection - Topics include aeronautics, astrophysics, biology, chemistry, computer technology, geology, aviation, physics, archaeology, marine sciences and materials science. In addition to the full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 1,700 publications.

Use the following to locate other types of sources such as dissertations, patents, and technical reports:

  • Dissertations and Theses Full Text (ProQuest) - Covers dissertations accepted at accredited U.S. institutions since 1861. It selectively covers Master's theses and Canadian, British, and other international dissertations. Most dissertations since 1997, along with some earlier dissertations, are available in full text. (This resource is made available to the Mercer community by the Bruce Bell Rabun Memorial Library Fund created by his brother Dr. James Z. Rabun.)
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office - Includes information about all patents dating back to 1790. Full-text is available for patents beginning in 1976.
  • - Searches over 60 databases and over 2,200 scientific websites to provide users with access to more than 200 million pages of authoritative federal science information including research and development results.
Step 3: Evaluate
  • Primary vs. Secondary Sources - Not sure how to identity the differences between a primary and secondary source? This tutorial reveals what distinguishes one from the other and shows examples of these types of sources for the Humanities and Sciences.
    • In addition to the examples found in the tutorial above, other primary sources for the Engineering fields include: patents, conference papers, dissertations, technical reports, and standards. Examples of secondary sources include: interpretations, commentaries, and evaluations on original research.
  • Scholarly (Peer-reviewed) Journals vs. Popular Magazines - Need to find an academic, peer-reviewed, or scholarly article?  Check out this guide to help you identify what they are and how to find them.
    • Trade publications are a type of non-scholarly source that are geared toward the practitioners of a particular trade or industry. For engineers, some example trade publications include Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Smithsonian, and Spectrum. For additional information about trade publications, check out Colorado State University Libraries' guide to Popular vs. Trade vs. Scholarly.
  • CRAAP Test or C.R.A.P. Test - Depending on your field of study and current topic, you may use a variety of resources in your research. You will need to evaluate all of them to determine whether or not they are reliable and relevant to your current project. Whether you have a book, article, website, or other source, you can use the C.R.A.P. Test to decide whether or not it's worth including in your resource list.
Step 4: Cite
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition), Jack Tarver Library Circulation Desk, 2nd floor, BF76.7 .P83 2010 - The print version provides a more comprehensive use of the APA Style than the online version.